The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Falls

    12
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Burns

    4
  • Groped

    9
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Giardia

    8
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Groped

    2
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Robbed

    13
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Beaten

    3
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Malaria

    5
  • Robbed

    5
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1